Recreational Finfish Regulations

Updated as of May 14, 2014  
SpeciesSeasonSize LimitPossession Limit
American Eel (1)Jan 1 - Dec 319 in25 fish
Billfish (2) 
Black Sea Bass (3)   
PrivateMay 17 - Sep 1514 in8 fish
For-HireMay 17 - Sep 1514 in8 fish
For-Hire Special Access Program (LOA required*)May 17 - May 3114 in8 fish
Sept 1 - Sept 3014 in20 fish
BluefishJan 1 - Dec 31No Limit10 fish
Cod (4)(5)(8) (North of Cape Cod) 
Private and For-HireApr 16 - Oct 3119 in9 fish
For-HireNov 01 - Apr 1519 inClosed
PrivateNov 01 - Apr 1519 in2 fish/person (75 lb/boat)
Cod (4)(5) (South of Cape Cod)Jan 1 - Dec 3122 in10 fish
Dab (Plaice) (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 3114 inNo Limit
FlukeMay 22 - Sep 3016 in5 fish
Gray Sole (Witch) (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 3114 inNo Limit
Haddock (4)(5)(8) (North of Cape Cod)Jan 1 - Dec 3121 inNo Limit
Haddock (4)(5)(8) (South of Cape Cod)Jan 1 - Dec 3118 inNo Limit
Halibut (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 3141 in1 fish
Monkfish (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 31No LimitNo Limit
Ocean Pout (4)(5)ProhibitedN/AN/A
Pollock (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 31No LimitNo Limit
Redfish (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 31No LimitNo Limit
River HerringProhibitedN/AN/A
Scup   
 PrivateMay 1 - Dec 3110 in30 fish (150 fish vessel maximum)
For-Hire BonusMay 1 - June 3010 in45 fish
 For-Hire RegularJuly 1 - Dec 3110 in30 fish
Shad   
Merrimack RiverJan 1 - Dec 31No Limit3 fish
Connecticut RiverJan 1 - Dec 31No Limit3 fish
Other RiversJan 1 - Dec 31No LimitCatch and Release Only
Sharks** (excludes spiny dogfish)   Refer to Shark Section. Full regulations at 322 CMR 6.37
Smelt  Jun 16 - Mar 14No Limit50 fish
Spiny DogfishJan 1 - Dec 31No LimitNo Limit
Striped Bass (6)Jan 1 - Dec 3128 in2 fish
TautogJan 1 - Dec 3116 in3 fish
Tunas (7)   Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries
Weakfish Jan 1 - Dec 3116 in1 fish
White PerchJan 1 - Dec 318 in25 fish
Windowpane (4)(5) Prohibited
Winter Flounder (4)(5) ( North of Cape Cod pdf format of winter_flounder_rec_map.pdf
)All Year 12 in8 fish
Winter Flounder (4)(5) ( South and East of Cape Cod pdf format of winter_flounder_rec_map.pdf
)March 1 - Dec 3112 in2 fish
Wolffish (4)(5)  Prohibited
Yellowtail Flounder (4)(5)Jan 1 - Dec 3113 inNo Limit

 **Rule making is on-going and some regulations are subject to change in 2014.

Notes:

1) Subject to regulation by DMF and the municipality. Please consult municipal regulations.

2) All billfish species are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail fork. These species are managed by NOAA's Highly Migratory Species Office. Please consult NMFS for permitting requirements and regulations. 

3) Black sea bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail, not including the tail filament.

4) Federal rules apply beyond state waters. Consult NOAA for permitting requirements and regulations.

5) It is unlawful to fish with hook and line gear in the Winter Cod Conservation Closure from November 15th through January 21. It is unlawful to take cod from the Spring Cod Conservation Closure from April 16th through July 21st. 

6) Striped bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail. The discard of dead legal sized striped bass is unlawful. The practice of high-grading, whereby legal sized striped bass are released if favor of larger fish caught subsequently Is unlawful. Accordingly, it is also unlawful to keep a striped bass alive in water by attaching a line or chain to the fish or placing it in a live well or holding car. Striped bass must be kept whole, meaning the head, tail and body remain intact. Only evisceration is allowed. Permitted for-hire vessels may fillet striped bass for their customers.

7) These species are managed by NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Office. Please consult NMFS for permitting requirements and regulations.

8) Cod and haddock rules subject to change in 2014.